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My Favorite Places – Hvalsneskirkja

March 2, 2011

© - Hvalsneskirkja

Quick update: I have been busier than I expected and my wrist has not healed as hoped. There are a couple more favorite place entries coming in the next week or so.

There are likely at least a dozen places in Iceland that I could call a favorite place to make images, but Hvalsneskirkja was probably my most frequent photographic subject. This stone church (pronounced with a Kuh sound at the beginning) was maybe a 15 minute drive from where I called home over a series of nine different years. I can’t tell you either the number of trips we made out to the church nor the number of images I made of it, but both numbers are pretty darn big.

So why a favorite place? I have a near fanatical obsession with Iceland’s 18th and 19th century churches. They were my first serious photo subject- – the sort of thing where we planned trips around where the churches were. Trip success was measured in quantity, though in retrospect quality would have been a better goal to reach for. Iceland’s country churches are so pretty in their own individual ways, and there are so many individuals that it kept me busy. Many of my friends from that first extended stay knew me as the church guy and on my second stay a number of my Icelander friends would go to my site to look information on churches.

© - Hvalsneskirkja Winter Sunrise

© - Hvalsneskirkja Winter Sunrise

In my mind, when I thought sturdy country church, I thought of a church like Hvalsneskirkja. It was a church had photographic potential at just about any time of day. My first really good morning and evening silhouette images were done with this church, to include the first image I ever had the nerve to put up on my wall.

The proximity to where we lived also made this a favorite. 15 minutes after leaving home I could be shutting out the rest of the world for a few minutes and only concentrating on the church’s beauty. It is amazing how much stress can be shed with just a quick few minutes when there is a work of art like this one ready for its close-up (or wide angle, or whatever happened to be the order of the day).

It was also a favorite place as it was my test ground as I got new lenses. I knew how she was supposed to look, but the challenge would be how would she look after looking at her with a new piece of glass in front of the film.

Many, many fond memories of this church and without a doubt it will be the first stop I make after I get off the plane if and when I ever make it back.

A favorite place, and I sure miss her and Íslandi a lot.

About these images:

Two different aspects of Hvalsneskirkja.

The top image is from the southwest of the church on the small rise. The file information claims that it is from 4pm, though that seems later than I would have expected. I will have to dive back into Lightroom to the original raw file and check the accuracy. ISO 100, f16 from my EF 24mm on my Canon 10D.

The bottom image is from some of the last frames I exposed on my Canon Elan 7e. I’m unsure of the lens/f-stop/exposure combination, but it was shot on Fuji transparency/slide film and scanned with Nikon Coolscan IV film scanner. This is not my favorite silhouette of Hvalsneskirkja, but it is the best example I can find of my film scans.

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